It always makes me laugh that people think I am pulling their leg when I tell them how shy I really am. And granted yes, people that typically suffer from social anxiety aren't generally the loud ones at a gathering.
Unless you are someone like me.
You see I subscribe to the age old theory of fake it till you make it. I tend to be loud, loopy and have a habit of saying inappropriate things to break the ice. Most of the time, my method works for me and before long I am feeling comfortable with you and my shyness completely dissipates.
If you saw me moments before I walk into a room - TOTALLY different story.
I am the one sitting in the car outside taking big deep breaths, and if you ever see me making a mad dash to the bathroom, its usually because I need a little space for a few moments to gather myself. Unless I have eaten a whole box of Eclipse mints and well then that's a different story.
One of the ways I constantly challenge myself as an individual, is to put myself out of my comfort zone. Not neccearily because I want to, but more because I feel I need to.
Whether it be walking into the school yard and introducing myself to a new group of mums, calling someone up out of the blue and inviting them for a coffee or a play date, or taking myself off to somewhere where I know virtually no one and forcing myself to get to know people - I intentionally do it to myself every now and then.
For the first little while, it is so damn uncomfortable and it is during those first few minutes that I find myself thinking - What the freaking Hell am I doing???
However I do find most of the time, that with putting yourself out there comes a reward. You meet some amazing people, and make some fabulous new friends.
If you had told me even 5 years ago that I would one day be sitting in a community hall doing crafts, I would have laughed at you. But then again if you had told me that I would quit my job to chase my dreams, I would have personally dialled the number of the looney bin for you too.
And so it was that I found myself sitting outside the gathering place in my car taking big deep breaths, before grabbing my knitting bag from the seat beside me and taking myself into a room full of virtual strangers (excluding my friend that invited me of course).
I met some of the warmest and most genuine people who welcomed me into their circle. They fed me Gummi Bears because my friend knew they were my absolute favourite and made sure they were there. And bless the lot of them, they didn't even raise an eyebrow when I ate all the red and green ones and left the rest.
I took Wagon Wheels with me as an offering and I took great delight in shoving them at people and saying "Eat the Wagon Wheels. EAT THE WAGON WHEELS".
True to form I was one of the last to leave and as I said reluctantly said goodbye to my new friends I was genuinely looking forward to next month's gathering and I promised I would be there.
And I will.
With bells on, and Wagon Wheels in hand. Just you try and stop me.
Do you get anxious before you meet new people?
Do you ever just say stuff it and put yourself out there?
How do you cope with nerves?
|Letting Friendships Go|